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Thoughts on article? Spanking kids can cause long-term harm: Canada study

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Spanking kids can cause long-term harm: Canada study

By Cameron French

TORONTO (Reuters) - Spanking children can cause long-term developmental damage and may even lower a child's IQ, according to a new Canadian analysis that seeks to shift the ethical debate over corporal punishment into the medical sphere.

The study, published this week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, reached its conclusion after examining 20 years of published research on the issue. The authors say the medical finding have been largely overlooked and overshadowed by concerns that parents should have the right to determine how their children are disciplined.

While spanking is certainly not as widespread as it was 20 years ago, many still cling to the practice and see prohibiting spanking as limiting the rights of parents.

That point of view highlights the difficulty in changing hearts and minds on the issue, despite a mountain of accumulated evidence showing the damage physical punishment can have on a child, says Joan Durant, a professor at University of Manitoba and one of the authors of the study.

"We're really past the point of calling this a controversy. That's a word that's used and I don't know why, because in the research there really is no controversy," she said in an interview.

"If we had this level of consistency in findings in any other area of health, we would be acting on it. We'd be pulling out all the stops to work on the issue."

Durant and co-author Ron Ensom, with the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, cite research showing that physical punishment makes children more aggressive and antisocial, and can cause cognitive impairment and developmental difficulties.

Recent studies suggest it may reduce the brain's grey matter in areas relevant to intelligence testing.

"What people have realized is that physical punishment doesn't only predict aggression consistently, it also predicts internalizing kinds of difficulties, like depression and substance use," said Durant.

"There are no studies that show any long term positive outcomes from physical punishment."

While banned in 32 countries, corporal punishment of children retains at least partial social acceptance in much of the world. Debates on the issue typically revolve around the ethics of using violence to enforce discipline.

With the study, Durant hopes parents will start to look at the issue from a medical perspective.

"What we're hoping is that physicians will take that message and do more to counsel parents around this and to help them understand that physical punishment isn't getting them where they want to go," she said.

She also hopes that countries that allow the practice - including Canada - will take another look at their child protection laws.

Canada is one of more than 190 countries to have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a 1989 treaty that sets out protections for children.

The treaty - which has been ratified by all UN member states except for the United States, Somalia and South Sudan - includes a passage stating that countries must protect children from "all forms of physical or mental violence".

"If we had two or three studies that showed that if you took 500 mg of vitamin C a day you could reduce cancer risk, we would all be taking 500 mg of vitamin C a day," Durant said.

"Here, we have more than 80 studies, I would say more than 100, that show the same thing (about corporal punishment), and yet we keep calling it controversial."

(Reporting By Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson)
by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 5:12 PM
Replies (21-30):
Kris_PBG
by Representative on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:54 PM
3 moms liked this
Quoting jg10:

I am not for "beating" children. However, a spanking is far from that when done in the correct way. When my son gets a spanking there is no anger,yelling, etc that is sometimes associated with it, he knows that he's done something (after being warned) that has gotten him in trouble and he has consequences. I was spanked as a child and I've turned into a responsible,respectful and very intelligent person. I not only graduated high school early (while taking college courses), I have obtained many honors in college.

now, compare that to my cousin. My aunt never believed in spanking and thought it was cruel. Her daughter is now a dead-beat druggie who dropped out of high school and has no regard for rules/laws. Discipline sets a foundation for life; it only has benefits.



Corporal punishment is by NO means to only way to discipline effectively.

My sister and I grew up in a no spank household. We are both upstanding, highly educated professionals. We were good kids, are respected adults and both hold valuable positions in our communities. Research also does not suggest negative outcomes for children whO were not spanked.

It sounds like you are insinuating with you anecdotes that children who are not spanked dont "turn out" so well...

That is why it is called anecdotal evidence -it is just that...
sjump25
by on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:56 PM

I agree with this.  Having said that I try not to spank my kids.  I won't say I have never done it or that I won't ever do it again, but it's not something that happens often in my house.

Quoting Thelmama:

There is a difference between spanking and abuse. But this will be around for centuries..this arguement..this theory. But you just can't put kids in a box and say all kids...............react a certain way.  But to each their own.  I must be really awfully  harmed cause I was spanked..LOL


Kris_PBG
by Representative on Feb. 8, 2012 at 9:59 PM
Quoting Thelmama:




You know if this has not been found in so many different studies, I would be more skeptical of those exact questions you asked. I have not seen the methodolog for this most recent study, but I have read a good deal about some of the previous studies on this topic. I can't say I remember the details off hand, but i do remember thinking that the points you raised had been more than adequately addressed. For me, that fact that they keep coming up with this finding also gives it greater credibility.
louzannalady
by Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 11:08 PM
1 mom liked this
It isn't the first study supporting this. It won't be the last.
Posted on CafeMom Mobile
jg10
by New Member on Feb. 8, 2012 at 11:44 PM
1 mom liked this



I'm very sorry if I insulted you but I was misunderstood and should have been more clear. My point wasn't that no spanking as a child will result like my cousin; What I meant was this: children who recieve no punishment or consequences in some form generally don't turn out to be upstanding citizens.


I firmly believe that discipline is a strong part of forming our character. Whether it's done in the form of grounding, spanking (when done in the proper way), etc. I believe it is vital. However, I've seen parents in grocery stores cussing their kids out and spanking them multiple times for acting like kids; I can definitely see how this article could be relevant in those cases.


This was my original message. Sorry I wasn't more clear.

Kris_PBG
by Representative on Feb. 9, 2012 at 12:01 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting jg10:

I'm very sorry if I insulted you but I was misunderstood and should have been more clear. My point wasn't that no spanking as a child will result like my cousin; What I meant was this: children who recieve no punishment or consequences in some form generally don't turn out to be upstanding citizens.

I firmly believe that discipline is a strong part of forming our character. Whether it's done in the form of grounding, spanking (when done in the proper way), etc. I believe it is vital. However, I've seen parents in grocery stores cussing their kids out and spanking them multiple times for acting like kids; I can definitely see how this article could be relevant in those cases.

This was my original message. Sorry I wasn't more clear.




Thanks for taking the time to clarify. I feel i have a much better understanding of your post now. :)

Sometimes what we mean gets lost in the process of typing! :)
Kmakksmom
by Stefanie on Feb. 9, 2012 at 3:32 AM
1 mom liked this

My dad spanked me all the time.  My mom never did.  He always took it way too far.  I still have issues because of it.  To this day I have never spanked my kids, and I never will because of how much my dad, who was supposed to be my protector, hurt me.

Kris_PBG
by Representative on Feb. 9, 2012 at 6:30 AM
1 mom liked this
Quoting Kmakksmom:

My dad spanked me all the time.  My mom never did.  He always took it way too far.  I still have issues because of it.  To this day I have never spanked my kids, and I never will because of how much my dad, who was supposed to be my protector, hurt me.




I'm so sorry...
Katherine696997
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Quoting Kris_PBG:

I've been reading studies reporting this for a long time. I was surprised to see it was new news again.


furbabymum
by on Feb. 9, 2012 at 12:22 PM
4 moms liked this

 Oh please.

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